It has always bothered me when I hear this phrase or its variations. When you are a reader, people often say this to you with an air of importance. Like you are living a life of leisure that allows for reading while they are busy with real life.
The reality is that we are all busy with real life and we all prioritize different things. People who say, “I don’t have time to read” are really saying, “I choose not to read with my free time.”
I have less time for reading now than I once did, but that’s because I chose to have kids and prioritize parenting over reading. It isn’t because “I don’t have time to read.” And I could still read plenty if I chose to. My kid goes to bed by 7:30 and I don’t go to bed until 10:30. That’s 21 hours each week that I could be reading. Just because I’d rather sit on the couch and watch Friends reruns with my husband at the end of the day doesn’t grant me the right to say “I don’t have time to read” to someone who doesn’t make that same choice as me.
Would I have more time to read if I were a stay at home mom? Probably not, unless I prioritized reading over other things like, say, showering or having clean dishes or preparing activities to do with my kid. Would I have more time to read if I didn’t have a toddler? Not exactly. I might have more opportunities to read, but I would still be sacrificing other activities in order to do so.
I often feel like I don’t have time to read. But I know plenty of working moms who read a ton. They just don’t watch Friends reruns all night. It’s that simple.
It’s okay if you are the person who is making time to read or if you are the person who isn’t. Neither person is better.
The simple fact is that we all have the exact same hours in the day. Saying “I don’t have time to read” to someone who makes the time to read is, at best, inaccurate, and, at worst, insulting.